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January 30, 2010

Brigitte Bardot Saves Animal Shelter and More!

The majority of this article, including photographs, are from the Brigitte Bardot Foundation newsletter, which is written in French and located at

The Brigitte Bardot Foundation has approved funding to aid Amazon CARES in the sterilization of 600 dogs. CARES is located in the Amazon, wich is known for its exceptional biodiversity and is home to the largest variety of plant species in the world. The region is under constant threat by predation of all kinds; from the trafficking of wild animals to domestic abuse.

The people of the Amazon also live in a precarious situation with significant health and social concerns. The prevalence of endemic diseases (malaria, dengue, diarrhea, parasites...) is severe, especially in marginally urban areas and in Indigenous communities.

Conditions in Iquitos are no better. Iquitos is home to 60,000 domestic animals, "street dogs," approximately 70% of which suffer from abuse and neglect. Street dogs carry infectious diseases that are contagious to humans. These factors make Iquitos seem dangerous and unsanitary to tourists, which causes the local economy to suffer further.
Amazon CARES has provided ongoing support to sick an abandoned animals since 2004. Drawing on the expertise of its members and foreign volunteers, several projects have already emerged and mobile clinics in remote forest areas have been established. CARES also organizes educational programs, prevention campaigns and shelters rescued animals suffering from ongoing needs in the Amazon region of Loreto, Peru, until they are healthy enough to be adopted. CARES enjoys the support of local and national authorities (Municipalities, Region of Loreto, Ministries of Health and Agriculture) and international (Worldwide Veterinary Service, WSPA, Animal Medical Care Foundation).
In addition to sterilizing the 600 dogs mentioned above, The Brigitte Bardot Foundation has elected to donate much needed funds to CARES to repair their shelter damaged by severe flooding in 2009.

Amazon CARES is extremely grateful for the grant which enabled us to survive the flooding catastrophe during 2009.

Fondation Brigitte Bardot - 28 rue Vineuse 75116 Paris - tél: 33 (0)1 45 05 14 60 - fax: 33 (0)1 45 05 14 80

January 15, 2010

Rating Direct Mail from Environmental Defense Fund

I just returned from Peru, and my mailbox is filled with fundraising appeals from a variety of animal and environmental charities.  Apparently, I'm on the list.  That is fine with me, as I am always fascinated by such appeals, wondering what the cost of the appeal is versus money raised.  Statistics show that direct mail appeals have a higher yield that other forms of appeals for donations.

Amazon CARES can't afford these fancy appeals, yet I take pleasure in seeing how others market themselves.  This year, bombarded with direct mail fundraising pieces, I decided to evaluate them.

First up:  The Environmental Defense Fund:
  •  Envelope announces that free "Disappearing Treasure" notecards are enclosed.
  • Fundraising Appeal   
  • Information:  "10 Things You Can Do to Fight Global Warming." (see image at right)
  • Information:  "Environmental Defense Fund Achievements over time."
  • Gifts Available:  Donations of $25+ receive free newsletter by mail plus a tote bag.
  • Gifts Included:  5 beautiful notecards with blank envelopes enclosed (see image below)
  • Gifts Included: 24 address labels with photos corresponding to notecards
Observations:  Printed on recycled paper.  The Global Warming Information is something I will put on my refridgerator and share with friends.  I think about using notecards, but truthfully don't write many letters.  Address labels?  I have many from different charities, plus, once again, I rarely use "snail mail."  The paper, including notecards, were not a high grade quality paper, which impressed me, as I want to know that charities do their best to cut costs.

I could not find similar appeal on their website.

Rating the Appeal:  Modest and well presented.  The print newsletter is produced in quantity and is likely send to lawmakers that probably don't read email as frequently.  Their legislative aids will probably read and possibly report on this valid information.  The tote bag can be produced in quantity at a low price, as can be utilized for future campaigns as well.

Action:  I donated $25.

Why:  I am most interested in their print newsletter, plus the free tote back is an attractive gift.

If you like the idea of my reporting on fundraising appeals, please comment in the section below.  If response is positive, I will write future blogs about HSUS, PETA, SPCA, Wildlife Defense Fund, Best Friends and more,

by Molly Mednikow


January 4, 2010

9 Top Animal Charities on Twitter

This has been the hardest list to do, and I am aware of important charities missing from this list.  Please forgive me, comment, and let me have a second chance at a more refined list later.  For now, however, I just had to go with my gut feelings, and these particular charities stand out on the Twitter scene.  I would have liked to select more wildlife charities, but this will probably be a different list with the exception of the one wildlife charity I have included here.

American Animal Hospital Association Foundation
US and Canada (office in CO)
Bio We provide grants for emergency and non-elective veterinary care of pets in need. AAHA-accredited veterinary practices apply on behalf of their clients.
Why they're on the list: In these tough economic times I admire the American Animal Hospital Association Foundation for helping abandoned pets and pets with financially strapped owners to receive necesarry veterinary care. Their fund enables Veterinarians to be philanthropic, and helps needy families keep their pets. I especially love the stories of "Pets We've Helped" on their web site home page.
Sample Tweet: Approving a grant for Darius, an English Bulldog in WA who has an elongated palate. Poor puppy! Really hope this helps.

Amazon Community Animal Rescue, Education & Safety
Peru and USA
Bio Animal, Human health, safety in poorest areas of Peru´s Amazon. Since 2004. Doris Day Animal League Honoree, Brigitte Bardot Fnd. Grantee
Why I'm on this list:  Well, it is my list, after all!  We have changed cultural indifference in the small part of the world where we operate.  We are 100% volunteer driven in the USA.  We are involved with animal rescue, street animal birth control, humane education, wildlife conservation and assisted animal therapy projects.  In addition to a modern clinic we operate a no-kill shelter.  We focus on Twitter above other social media formats. We are a lot poorer than we look!  LOL
Sample Tweet:  Volunteer in Peru! Love dogs? You don't have to be a vet to help out!

Bernie Berlin
Sumner County, Tennessee
Bio My name is Bernie Berlin Author of Artist Trading Card Workshop : I run a full time animal rescue, called A Place To Bark. Life is worth saving! Follow me:)
Why they're on the list: Since it's my list, I can be biased.  I am a Tennessee native, and live in Nashville when not in the Amazon (jungle, not bookstore!). The South is the worst region of the USA to be an abandoned dog.  Did you know many New England rescue organizations regularly work to save dogs from the South?  Bernie Berlin (love her name) saves dogs from high-kill rate shelters.  Her shelter is truly a no-kill shelter, like ours at Amazon CARES! 
Sample Tweet:  Planning to get started on finishing the shelter!!! 2 weeks & we start building, baby!!! WooHoo... YOWZA:)

@Big Cat Rescue
Big Cat Rescue
Tampa, FL 33625
Bio Providing permanent home to 100+ lions, tigers & wild cats. Ending the breeding, trade, use and abuse w/ better laws at
Why They're on my list:  In the Amazon we see so many oncilla and jaguar babies taken in as pets and then abandoned when they grow larger.  It is a terrible fate for many wildlife animals here.  I can't ignore the work of this tremendous organization.  Recently they have been more interactive with Amazon CARES on Twitter, and I appreciate their taking time to give us a shout out or a hello.
Sample Tweet:  CatBlog 'Homesick' tiger to be kept under 24x7 surveillance: 'Homesick' tiger to be kept under 24x7 surveillance200...

Black Dog Rescue
North Ogden, Utah
Bio Black Dog Rescue Project provides education to improve adoption rates for homeless black dogs. Spread the Word... Save a Life!
Why they're on the list: "Black Dog Syndrome is a very real phenomenon. Rescues and shelters around the country know that black dogs are the last to be adopted and among the first to be euthanized." from their website.  I couldn't say it better.
Sample Tweet:  Bambi - a tripod lab with a rough start finds her forever home in time for Christmas!

Dogs Trust
Bio Tweets by Dogs Trust digital team: Alex, Lo & manager Jacqui. Erm... woof? Bark! Whiiiine...
No kill and 100% funded by donation, this UK based charity saved 16,000 dogs last year!  They have various giving options to fit many budgets.  All in all, a very professonal organization, and one of the few "big ones" that made this list.
Sample Tweet:  *beaming* RT: @MrPCollins: Sponsored a @dogstrust dog for my girlfriend for Christmas. Perfect until we can adopt a real one!

United States
Bio: (In Memory Of Magic): To better the lives of sick, injured, abused animals. To educate about proven health risks for unaltered animals.
Why they're on the list:  Their name struck a chord, as my work is dedicated to the memory of Gretchen, my 14 ear old pet that passed away while I made the decision to live in Peru.  They are 100% volunteer driven.  That I can relate to as well!
Sample Tweet: Many people don't know that IMOM is a 100% volunteer-based organization. Fortunately, our family, spouses, & children love animals too. :)
Sample Tweet:  IMOM pledged $400 to Daisy-Doo, a dog needing emergency back surgery today.

Ratbone Rescues
Bio Ratbone Rescues, a Rat Terrier Rescue founded in 1999, is a 501(c)(3) National Rescue organization dedicated to helping Rat Terriers in need.
Why they're on the list:  It's hard to hghlight a breed rescue group, as all dog breeds of worthy of special attention.  However, on Twitter, RatboneRescues really thrives, raising the profile of their charity while making new friends and supporting others.  Their website sells great goodies.  Despite running my own charity in need of funds, I couldn't help myself and purchased this great tee-shirt.

Teeny's Friends
Austin, Tx
Bio Teeny's Friends is an organization dedcated to providing toys for needy dogs
Why they're on the list: Teeny lives up to a much bigger name!  How can one not adore and smile at his happy grin!?  Providing toys to shelter dogs is a great idea to involve the community (through toy drives) and bring attention to rescue oranizations.  Busy staff & volunteers don't have time to socialize with the shelter animals, and something as teeny as a toy can make a big difference in a dog's mental stimulation.  This makes the dog more likely to be adopted!  Additionally, Teeny is a friend to EVERYONE, with fun, interactive tweets.  Teeny recently admitted a desire to join me in Peru for fun New Year's Eve celebrations!!  LOL
Sample Tweet:  We are trying to think of our New Year's resolutions and would love it if you would all share some of yours with us!
Sample Tweet:  Teeny's Friends 1-fur-1 tug toy 4 sale on our blog! For each 1 bought, we donate 1 to needy dogs. Only $4.99!


Dr. Cara Grant arrives to volunteer!

Hi I’m Cara, I am a vet from Scotland but I live and work in Devon. I heard about Amazon cares through the WVS but also through a colleague who volunteered with them and loved it. Just arrived in Iquitos after a nice day in Lima, where I checked out the Mercado Indio for artesanias and wandered around Miraflores, to the seafront and went to Barranco for a cerveza and watched some Andean musicians in the plaza. Then I went to the playa Pescadores where they were throwing fish to hoards of pelicans, an amazing sight to see. Everyone seemed very friendly and Lima was not as scary as some people made out.

The flight to Iquitos was enjoyable as I got to see the Andes, the cordilleras negra and blanca, through the clouds. Then flying over the Amazon river you can appreciate the size as even from 30,000 feet it looks huge. Not like any river I have ever seen.

The heat on landing in Iquitos was quite startling. I like it hot, and have travelled in some warm places but The 95 degree heat and humidity was still a bit of a shock. The moto taxi man met me at the airport and took me to the office on Calle Pevas, where I met Molly and Danielo and we went for a wander to the waterfront, which looks amazing. They both seem lovely and very easy going and welcoming. I cant wait to get on the river and go to Cabo Lopez tonight. I am also looking forward to sampling some of Danielo’s cooking. Felt a bit jet lagged last night so hope I don’t crash and burn too early tonight.

Photo of Dr. Cara Grant top.
Photo of Dr. Cara Grant and Dr. Kirsten Patrick bottom.

January 3, 2010

Kirsten's First Impressions of CARES

Welcome to Veterinarian Kirsten Patrick, who is taking the time to write about what she expects and what will eventually happen during her 3 week veterinary volunteer experience with Amazon Community Animal Rescue When I arrived at Iquitos, I wasn’t sure what to expect apart from it was going to be different! I was expecting to not have the same equipment or drugs that a vet clinic (or clients of a vet clinic) in England would think of as standard and to be having to make do with whatever happened to be on the shelf at the time. These I assumed would be the older, cheaper versions of drugs rather than the newly licensed expensive drugs and I assumed some creative problem solving would have to be done to get around this lack of equipment or drugs. Also a lot of creativity where communication is concerned as in my case school time Spanish ended 8 years ago and although picking up some words and phrases, following the rapid pace of the locals was challenging. I also assumed that the attitudes of people about their animals and what they expected could be done for them would be very different in South America compared to the pampered pets of North London.

This short video below should show her some of the things to come.  Stay tuned for more as Kirsten learns more about Iquitos and Amazon CARES! If the video does not display below, please watch the video, A Day in the Life of a Veterinary Volunteer at a remote clinic on our YouTube channel.  We love your ratings and comments!